December 18, 1920|
|Died||December 24, 2001(aged 81)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1942-1945|
|Rank||Private First Class|
|Unit||How Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division|
Navy Commendation Medal with "V" Device
Robert Leckie (December 18, 1920 – December 24, 2001) was an American author of books on United States military history, fiction, autobiographies, and children's books. As a young man, he served in the Marine Corps with the 1st Marine Division during World War II; his service as a machine gunner and a scout in the war greatly influenced his work.
He began his career as a writer in high school, as a sports writer for The Bergen Evening Record in Hackensack, New Jersey. On January 18, 1942, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served in combat in the Pacific theater, as a scout and a machine gunner in H (How) Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (H/2/1).
Leckie saw combat in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Battle of Cape Gloucester, and was wounded by blast concussion in the Battle of Peleliu. Due to his wounds, he was evacuated to an Army field hospital in the Pavuvu Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1945 and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter.
His decorations include:
|Purple Heart Medal|
|Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat "V"|
|Navy Combat Action Ribbon|
|Navy Presidential Unit Citation with award star|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze campaign stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
According to his wife Vera, in 1951 Leckie was inspired to write a memoir after seeing South Pacific on Broadway and walking out halfway through. He said, "I have to tell the story of how it really was. I have to let people know the war wasn't a musical."
His first and best-selling book, Helmet for My Pillow, a war memoir, was published in 1957. Leckie subsequently wrote more than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War (1754-1763) to Desert Storm (1991).
|Booknotes interview with Leckie on Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, September 3, 1995, C-SPAN|
He married Vera Keller, a childhood neighbor, and they had three children: David, Geoff and Joan.
Leckie died on December 24, 2001, after fighting a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was survived by his wife of 55 years, his three children, two sisters, and six grandchildren. His remains were entombed at St. Joseph's Mausoleum in Newton, New Jersey.
Leckie's war memoirs, Helmet for My Pillow, along with Eugene B. Sledge's book With the Old Breed, formed the basis for the HBO series The Pacific (2010), the follow-on series to Band of Brothers. Leckie is portrayed in the miniseries by James Badge Dale; Vera is portrayed by Caroline Dhavernas.
Leckie was entitled to campaign participation credit ("battle stars") for Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings, Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea Operations, Cape Gloucester New Britain, and Capture and Occupation of the Southern Palau Islands (Peleliu).
Manage research, learning and skills at defaultlogic.com. Create an account using LinkedIn to manage and organize your omni-channel knowledge. defaultlogic.com is like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share.